As a bicyclist in New Jersey, you already know you face numerous dangers when riding your bike. Whether you ride in congested areas or prefer to take your bike out in the country, an accident with a motor vehicle can be devastating. Being doored is just one of the many hazards that can unexpectedly come your way when you are on your bicycle.
What exactly is dooring? As the League of American Bicyclists explains, dooring occurs when someone opens a vehicle door into a passing bicyclist or just as the cyclist approaches the vehicle so he or she has no time to avoid a collision. Usually, the motor vehicle is parked, and those inside the car or truck fail to check for approaching bicyclists before opening their door. A dooring accident can cause a serious injury or even be fatal to bicyclists, especially if they are riding fast.
You may be surprised to learn how prevalent dooring is, not just in America, but around the world. In an Australian study, 17.6% of incidents between bicyclists and drivers involved an opened vehicle door. Dooring collisions are especially common in urban areas. As such, many states have enacted dooring laws that place the responsibility for an accident on the person who opens a car door and not on the bicyclist. For example, in nearby New York, drivers must use caution when loading and unloading their cars and leave a door open for a minimal amount of time. Unfortunately, there are currently no dooring laws protecting bicyclists in New Jersey.
It can help to be vigilant when approaching a parked car as you ride your bike, but a negligent driver may be held responsible for your injuries. This information should not replace the advice of a lawyer.